CreateAthon: A veteran's perspective

  • Written by Julie Turner

When I volunteered at the first CreateAthon 14 years ago, I did it to be nice and to work with a bunch of cool people. Of course, I was very happy to be helping nonprofits, but my focus at that time was helping friends who were doing something bold and meaningful. I knew it would be hard to pull off, so what I wanted most was to help them succeed.

The first CreateAthon was a great experience so I kept volunteering, year after year. Most times I just flitted in, in the dead of night, to do a small project to help out. I was never there for the beginning or the end, often going home to grab a few hours of sleep before heading to work as usual.

Then three years ago I finally went all in: 24 hours of solid work, assignments to multiple projects and making presentations to nonprofits the morning after.

Taking on the full day was one of the best things I ever did as a creative professional. By now it was a lot less about helping out my friends (they did just fine) and more about helping these nonprofits that always seem to have to make do with less. It was being part of giving them a generous, useful gift. Often, a gift that far surpassed their expectations.

But what I never expected was the gift CreateAthon would be for me.

It’s one of the scariest, most intimidating things I have ever done. Still is. But in 24 hours, we can turn out some great, inspiring work. Work that helps organizations who really impact our community.

The presentations the day after to the nonprofits are truly the icing on the cake. It’s a great opportunity to thank them for all they do to help others. In the midst of all their gratitude, I don’t think they ever understand how much working for them helps me.

So here we are. Three days away from the 14th annual CreateAthon. I am even more excited than I was 13 years ago.

If you are in a community where there is no CreateAthon, create some change and start one. Email for more information.